The last stop on our 14 night trip to Malawi was Chawani Bungalow at the Satemwa Tea Estate, just outside Blantyre. It was a property that grew on me and I can see that it would be good fun for large family groups visiting from Blantyre which in fairness is who usually use it.
While many visitors to Malawi may finish their trip at Lake Malawi we decided that with the kids we wanted to be closer to the airport for our return flight so staying at the Satemwa Tea Estate worked out perfectly. It would also be the perfect place to stay when you first arrive in Malawi being only an hour or so from the airport.
We arrived at the Satemwa Tea Estate after a long journey from Pumulani at Lake Malawi in the dark. Sadly I think this didn’t give me the best first impressions. It was not only dark but Chawani Bungalow is around 30 minutes into Satemwa Tea Estate along some quite twisty bumpy roads. There had been a power cut when we arrived so there was no lights either. It felt a little bit isolated and I wasn’t overly keen on Chawani Bungalow that first night. This was only MY first impression though – hubby loved it and embraced the history of the place wholeheartedly.
Power restored and we were able to look around. Chawani Bungalow is a historic tea planters bungalow. It feels as though not a lot has been done to it since 1936, and apart from some sensitive restoration not a lot has. It is most definitely quirky, and was a real change from the luxury we had experienced at Pumulani from where we had just come. The property is however huge and the beds and furniture comfortable. The house has four bedrooms and sleeps 10 people. Bedroom 1 has a double bed, two single beds and an en suite bathroom with shower and bath. Bedroom 2 has one double bed. Bedroom 3 has two single beds and bedroom 4 has a double bed. There are two other bathrooms in the house, one with a bathtub/toilet and one with shower/toilet.
Alec and Evance who looked after us for the 2 nights we were there, couldn’t be faulted. Chawani Bungalow is normally a self catering property and people heading out to stay for the weekend from Blantyre would bring food with them which Alec and Evance would cook and serve. As we weren’t really able to bring our own food with us (apart from breakfast) we ate our meals at Huntingdon House which we enjoyed a great deal.
The more relaxed feel of Chawani Bungalow does however make it an easier place to stay with kids and there is a very well maintained pool in the garden which on sunnier days would have been a lovely place to spend a few hours. The gardens are also very beautiful and again with better weather and a little more time would have been lovely to walk around.
Chawani Bungalow is an unusual quirky property which works well for large groups as the guest book and tripadvisor reviews attest to. For me though, having seen the simply stunning rooms at Huntingdon House, I would definitely suggest staying there instead if you’re traveling around Malawi on holiday, and then let me know so I can be quietly envious.
It would cost circa $200 to rent Chawani Bungalow at Satemwa Tea Estate for the night. See the website for more details.
NB: We were hosted by Satemwa Tea Estate during our 14 night trip to Malawi.